Taiwan's foreign ministry has confirmed a report that a former tycoon wanted on allegations of embezzlement and fraud was killed in a car accident in California. He had been hiding for years in the United States.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Eleanor Wang on Tuesday confirmed a report by the official Central News Agency that said Wang You-theng, former chairman of the China Rebar Group, was killed in a Friday morning crash on a California highway.

Wang founded Rebar in 1959 to build steel beams and made a fortune from the business, but when Rebar sank into financial difficulties in 2006, Wang fled Taiwan amid allegations of embezzlement and fraud, and eventually arrived in the United States, where he had lived a fugitive.